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Ever since the fall of Angkor in 1431, the once mighty Khmer Empire has been plundered by its neighbors.
It was colonized by the French in the 19th century, and during the 1970s suffered heavy carpet bombing by the USA.
Anybody who witnesses the magnificent temples at Angkor can attest to the fact that the Khmer Empire was once wealthy, militarized, and a major force in the region. 1218), where the Empire made significant territorial gains from the Cham.
The Khmer Empire stretched to encompass parts of modern day Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, Laos and Vietnam.
It is important to remember that Cambodian history did not begin with the Khmer Rouge.
Pol Pot's incredibly harsh regime has garnered the most attention, but the Cambodians have enjoyed a long and often triumphant history.
The period following the fall of the Khmer Empire has been described as Cambodia's dark ages.
However, travel beyond the most popular tourist destinations is still unpredictable and risky.
The Kingdom of Cambodia (ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា ឬ ប្រទេសកម្ពុជា) (sometimes transliterated as Kampuchea to more closely represent the Khmer pronunciation) is a Southeast Asian nation bordered by Vietnam to the east, Laos to the north, Thailand to the northwest, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.
Cambodia has had a pretty bad run of luck for the last half-millennium or so.
The Khmer Empire never recovered from the sacking by its neighbors based in Ayutthaya (in modern day Thailand), and Cambodia spent much of the next 400 years (until French colonization) squeezed and threatened by the rivalries of the expanding Siamese and Vietnamese Empires to the West and East.
After a false dawn of independence in 1953, Cambodia promptly plunged back into the horrors of civil war in 1970 to suffer the Khmer Rouge's incredibly brutal reign of terror, and only after UN-sponsored elections in 1993 did the country begin to totter back onto its feet.
Much of the population still subsists on less than the equivalent of US a day, the provision of even basic services remains spotty, and political intrigue remains as complex and opaque as ever; but the security situation has improved immeasurably, and increasing numbers of visitors are rediscovering Cambodia's temples and beaches.